Verstappen: 'One of the best' Alonso would still be an F1 title contender

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Max Verstappen believes Fernando Alonso would still very much be capable of fighting for the Formula 1 title in the right car.

A year ago, the double world champion called time on his career which had tapered off in its final years after spending four seasons in an uncompetitive McLaren in the midfield.

The Dutchman though has great respect for Alonso and admits he was disappointed not to be able to test himself against the Spaniard.

“For me, Fernando is one of the best and it’s a pity that I could not race against him because when we raced each other on the same tracks in recent years, he did not have a competitive car,” he told Auto Bild.

“[Lewis] Hamilton, [Sebastian] Vettel and [Charles] Leclerc are very good drivers, although their style is very different. Lewis and Vettel are already among the best drivers of all time.

“But we are in a sport in which you depend so much on the machinery, and where the differences are not so much in the driver, but rather in the car you have.”

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Since retiring, Alonso has focused his attention on other categories, becoming WEC champion with Toyota, failing to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 and next year, he'll compete in the Dakar Rally.

A comeback to F1 in 2021 hasn't been ruled out, however, and Verstappen does think the 38-year-old would hack it among today's top names.

“For example, I think that if Alonso came back in one of the cars at the front of the grid, he would be one of the main candidates to win the title," he claimed.

“Sometimes it’s the driver, but sometimes it’s bad luck. Look, Fernando, he is one of the best, but has been in the wrong team lately.”